The Facebook Ads platform has a variety of powerful targeting options. If you’re frustrated with Facebook limiting the reach of your business page, Facebook ads can be a great way to reach more of the right kind of people. In my experience, the difference between success and failure tends to be a result of how well the campaigns are targeted. Here are 12 Facebook Ad targeting hacks you should be using in 2018 to drive more of the right types of traffic and customers to your website.
Facebook Ad Targeting: Custom Audiences
I’m starting with Custom Audiences because these are the ones I use the most. You can find custom audiences in your Ads Manager account under Audiences.
1. Email Addresses
Have an existing customer list? Upload those emails to Facebook and create a custom audience of these past customers. Most of the time it’s easier and less expensive to sell to existing customers. Target past customers with new deals on Facebook using a custom audience created from customer email addresses. The same approach works targeting email subscribers with your newest blog post.
2. Past Website Traffic
If you’ve already got traffic to your website, make sure you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel and retarget your past website visitors. You can target all website visitors within a certain period of time (like the last 30 days) or you can segment your custom audience based on what pages they’ve viewed, actions they’ve taken or time they’ve spent on your website. You can even mix and match targeting criteria to include certain visitors while excluding others.
3. Facebook Page Engagements
Have a Facebook Page that’s earning a ton of engagement? Create a custom audience that lets you target anyone who interacted with your page in the last year. You can segment by targeting people who engaged with a post or an ad, people who clicked a call-to-action button or people who sent you a message. This can be a powerful tool to grow email subscribers from your most engaged Facebook fans.
4. Facebook Event Engagements
If your business hosts events using Facebook Events, you can create a custom audience targeting past event attendees. This is an especially powerful feature for groups who host annual fundraising events. Combine this custom audience with the email addresses of people who bought tickets last year and you’ll be well on your way to selling out your event this year.
5. App Activity
Create a custom audience that targets your most active users, users by purchase amount, or segment based on demographic information.
6. Create A Lookalike Audience
If you have a custom audience created for your best customers, it’s time to create a lookalike audience. Choose your source audience, pick a location and Facebook will create a lookalike audience who matches your source audience.
This is an easy way to turn a list of 1,000 past customer email addresses into an audience of 2 million people who are similar to your past customers. Make sure that you limit your lookalike audience size when you run your ad by narrowing your lookalike using additional targeting.
A real estate agent might want to create a lookalike audience targeting people who are similar to her past customers but limit that lookalike audience to only people who live in Maryland and are first-time homebuyers. All of this is possible and more using a combination of custom audiences, lookalike audiences, and behavioral targeting.
Facebook Ad Targeting: Demographic, Interest and Behavioral Targeting
7. Geographic Targeting
If you have a local business that serves customers in a specific geographic area, use Facebook ad targeting to limit to specific geographic locations. You can target a specific state, an individual city, a zip code or drop a pin on Facebook’s Ads Manager map and target a radius surrounding that point.
Even if you have an online business and can target users anywhere in the world, you’re going to want to use location targeting to refine your audiences to specific countries and measure your results.
8. Age & Gender Targeting
Have a product that only focuses on a specific gender or a specific age group? Limit your ads to only men or women and target based on their age.
9. Employment Targeting
Have a service geared toward people that work for a specific company or have a specific job role? Use employment targeting to get your message in front of those people.
Let’s say you manage a bar that runs a service industry night. Combine targeting options to put your ad, post or Facebook event in front of people who have bartender, waiter or waitress listed in their profile and live within 10 miles of your bar.
10. Friends Of Your Fans
Depending on the goal of your ads, sometimes the best approach is using Facebook ad targeting to reach friends of your existing fans. This is an “old” feature but a good one. It relies on social proof or the psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.
11. Interest Targeting
Facebook has been compiling data on you and your interests since you first created your account. You can leverage interest targeting in your Facebook ads campaigns.
Want to get more listeners for your Game of Thrones podcast?
Target people who are interested in Game of Thrones – or any of the thousands of GOT podcasts – and drop a link to your most recent episode in the newsfeeds of people who are likely to enjoy it.
12. Behavioral Targeting
Behavioral targeting is a powerful option that relies on data provided by third parties. This is similar to the way businesses have used direct mail to target specific households by purchasing marketing lists. But there are far too many options to list. But some examples include auto purchases, housing profiles, digital activities, mobile device usage, purchase behavior, travel, media consumption and more. This infographic from WordStream has a complete list of options.
Want to target households that own a BMW? You can do that.
Want to target consumers who are likely to buy home cooking and grilling products? You can target that too.
Want to target households with consumers likely to purchase cat food or kitty-related products? Yeah…you can do that too.
Facebook Ad Targeting: Putting It All Together
I get the best results from Facebook Ad campaigns when I mix and match a variety of criteria. This allows me to get very specific with my targeting. On a given campaign, I might target past customer email addresses who live within 25 miles of Baltimore and exclude people who have bought something in the last 30 days.
I might also combine regular Facebook ad targeting with website retargeting and an AdWords search or display campaign to target people who have viewed specific pages on a website but haven’t converted yet. This can help to stretch advertising budgets further and increase the likelihood that paid search traffic converts after they’ve left a landing page.
In a campaign I run for a musician who tours nationally, we combine targeting that includes past page engagements, past event engagements (RSVPs and people who were interested), location targeting around the venue and lookalike audiences to target people who have been to shows in specific cities in the past and people who may be interested in upcoming dates.
We drive those ads directly to Facebook events pages because once they’ve RSVP’ed we’re able to communicate with them inside the specific Facebook event. And we’re able to target them in the future when there’s another gig scheduled in their town.
The combinations you choose will depend on your specific situation, your industry, what you’re selling, what you’d like your prospects to do and what your business’ goals are.
I hope you found some ideas you can put to good use in your Facebook marketing efforts. If you need a hand, drop me a message here or on Facebook. I work with small businesses and ad agencies to help create Facebook ads campaigns or optimize existing ones. I offer both monthly retainer and hourly consulting options.